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mitch mcconnell. and those contacts continued today. by early this afternoon amid reports of progress, president obama emerged in a campaign style setting. >> today it appears that an agreement to prevent this new year's tax hike is within sight. but it's to the done. there are still issues left to resolve. but we're hopeful that congress can get it done. but it's not done. >> it was widely reported that the deal would include making the bush era tax cuts permanent for families with incomes under $450,000 a year. for households making more than that amount, rates would rise from the current 35% to 39.6%. the agreement would also raise the estate tax. in addition, unemployment benefits would be extended for one year. otherwise some 2 million americans face the end of their benefits beginning in january. on the senate floor shortly before midafternoon, minority leader mcconnell confirmed that the stalemate on taxes appeared to be over. >> i can report that we've reached an agreement on all of the tax, the tax issues. we are very, very close. as the president just said, the most importan
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